Control Your Diabetes on a Budget

By Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

control your diabetesDiabetes care can cost a lot when you add up all of the products you use to maintain good glucose control – medicines, syringes or insulin pump tools, a glucose meter, lancets, blood glucose test strips, glucose tablets, diabetes-friendly snacks, and more. Any way you can reduce such costs can help you gain control over your diabetes without hurting your budget. One way is to choose your medicines wisely. A recent study found that sulfonylureas, a group of type 2 diabetes drugs, worked as well as options such as incretin, but cost less.

About diabetes and sulfonylureas

Sulfonylureas can help lower your blood glucose level. To do this, they prompt the pancreas to release more insulin. Insulin helps your body transport glucose to cells to use for energy. If your body does not make enough insulin, this can lead to high blood glucose levels and may eventually cause diabetes.

If you have type 1 diabetes, you need to inject insulin since your body produces little, if any of its own. If you have type 2 diabetes, your body may still produce insulin, but either doesn’t make enough or ignores it. Therefore, sulfonylureas may help those with type 2 diabetes produce more insulin so they can better control their blood glucose levels without having to inject insulin.

The research

A large group of people with type 2 diabetes was split into four smaller groups. The researchers gave members of all groups metformin along with other diabetes drugs, so they could enjoy improved control. One of the groups combined metformin with a sulfonylurea.

All of these groups enjoyed similar results, but the sulfonylurea group’s medicines cost less per year. The people who used the sulfonylureas were also able to delay starting insulin longer than those in the other groups.

What does this study mean for me?

A proper diabetes care program can be costly, even with insurance, due to the types of medicines and supplies you may need to help control your blood glucose levels. There are ways to reduce such cost if you and your healthcare team take the time to do some research. Ask your healthcare provider if changing medicines can help you control your diabetes without getting your budget out of control.

To find out more about diabetes medicines, have a look at Making Sense of Your Medicines.


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